Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by ze_kraken, Jun 11, 2015.

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  1. Michael awoke with a jolt, his eyes opening to pitch darkness and the steady thrum thrum thrum of the fan above him. He was only barely aware of the cacophony that New York City played at below him as he stood, running a hand through the knotted, grease-filmed, and untidy mass of hair atop his head. Standing now, Michael's gaze shifted to the filtered light breaking the barricades that were his torn, bent, cracked blinds.

    Blearily, Michael reached for a switch - any switch - that would turn on the lights. His hand brushed the wall-switch and his bare, open apartment was cast in a swathe of light. Paint splattered the floor and walls. Dust coated virtually every surface. The mattress behind him sagged and was near ready to blend into the ill-kept and chipped hardwood floor. On the wall opposite his right lay a four canvases, the majority of which were half-covered in squares of various hues of blue, pink, and grey.

    With the lights on, he trudged to the dented, scratched refrigerator and opened the door: as usual, nothing. Disregarding the prospect of breakfast, Michael turned to the counter left of the refrigerator and hoisted his phone from its charger. A moment later, glazed eyes staring dully at the screen while a hand ran over the scruff that had formed over his cheeks, Michael tossed the phone back down onto the counter and grunted: late for work and the radio appearance. Cursing, he began the rush to apply a layer of respectability over the grime that was his normal self.


    "Third time being late in two weeks, Mike." Was the first thing his manager had said upon his arrival into Reckless Records.

    "I've been working." Inwardly, Michael bit back the snide remarks that were waiting to be thrown at the long-haired, dingy (more so than himself) man that tended the store. His voice had been nonchalant, almost soft.

    "Like hell you have, otherwise you'd have the decency to arrive on time."

    "Working on a purpose greater than this." An arm waved around the store covered in a battlefield littered with the corpses of records long past, shelves bent and misshapen, and visible dirt matted upon most surfaces than not. "'Sides, we don't-"

    "Right, right, don't get many people. Got that." He let out a long breath, then closed his eyes. "Anyways, last call, Mike." His voice had calmed down considerably, though Michael felt he stood on thin ice.


    Five hours later, Michael exited Reckless Records, feeling as if the entire day had slipped away. In that grand collection of three hundred minutes, eighteen hundred seconds, a total of six people had lost their way to wind up within the store, and only half of them wandered out having purchased anything. Now he stood on the corner of Portland and Elliot, waiting for the pedestrian crossing light to turn from red. As was usually the case in early March, the air was chilled and wind blew through the tunnels the towering buildings created in miniature gales, stinging at exposed skin and eating through layers of warmth.

    The light flashed from red to white.

    Without further pause - he had been quite impatient watching little traffic stroll by - Michael strode across the walkway, promptly giving a would-be assailant cab driver the New York greeting. Time was slipping as he jogged down block after block, dodged between crowds of people, and weaved between lanes of traffic. Each ticking second made itself duly aware to him: 1:03 pm, 1:04 pm, 1:05 pm...

    His phone began to buzz in his pocket. Annoyed - it took away from his concentration on moving - Michael glanced at the dull-glowing screen: Daniel Carter. With a quick twitch of his thumb, Michael slid the screen up and answered with a gruff remark.

    "You've got like ten minutes." Daniel remarked as if they were discussing the weather, but Michael knew better.

    "Yeah, got it. On the way - better to be fashionably late, 'nah?" He elbowed his way past a gaggle of teenagers content on occupying the middle of the sidewalk. "Now quit wasting my minutes - I'll get there when I get there. You host a radio show, play some damned music if it's a problem." Before Daniel could retort, Michael cut the line and kept walking: 1:10pm.


    "Michael Demonte - I've got a show here in a few."

    The girl sitting at the radio station's desk glanced up from her computer, a pair of dull brown eyes glossing over him before shifting back down to the screen. "Who with?" Came her response after a lengthy pause.

    "Naomi Wolfe."

    "Oh, right, her. Yeah, down that way, last door." The directions were followed with a vague gesture of the girl's arm. Feeling dismissed, Michael walked through the dimly lit, ill-maintained, and cluttered hall lined with notice boards, advertisements, loose wires and countless more debris. Arriving at the door, he paused, cleared his throat, and reached for the knob. On the other side of the thin wooden door he could hear a clear voice speaking.

    "This is 98.8 FM, I'm Daniel Carter signing off and handing the reigns back to Naomi here - I'll talk to you all tomorrow, same time, same place." Proud, confident, everything a radio host should be, if over controlling. Grinning, giving himself one last mental pat-down, Michael opened the door.
  2. No matter what she said, there was nothing Naomi could do to dissuade her brother from arriving at her house in the early afternoon. She could get to work on her own--she wasn't helpless--but at the very least, it seemed to make him feel better about things, as though his personal satisfaction and ego meant ever-so-slightly more than her own. She knew he cared, but he cared just a little too much--both about her, and his image.

    Still, she kept her silence on the drive there, trying not to think about the stares she could feel from her co-workers when they saw her arrive on anything other than the bus and trying instead to focus on her half-assed schedule for the afternoon show. Of course, she hadn't written a thing down. It was all up there, in the cloudy space she called her head. Naomi had a brilliant excuse for never writing anything down, so her boss had little to say in complaint, though it didn't stop him from pressing her at every available moment for a run-down of her plan for the day… Even though, by now, he had to have known he would never get a straight answer.

    She did remember, though, that she had an interview right at the start of her show; what was the guy's name? Max…Matthew… M… Michael! Michael something. His last name, she remembered, sounded almost French. Whatever French was supposed to sound like, anyway. He was an artist, she was told--not like she would know. Art wasn't exactly her area of expertise, considering. But she was excited enough to do the interview, believe it or not. Artists always had a little unique flair to them, she'd found, almost like an aura of creativity that drew her in. It was special, attractive, like a moth to a light.

    Regardless, she had to be there on time. Michael French-Surname would probably be mad if she was late… Or Daniel would be. Ads could only help stall for so long.

    "Do you need he--"

    "Drop me off by the curb." she said, cutting her brother off and dragging her bag over her shoulder.

    "Naomi--" She could feel the car slowing to a crawl and eventually a stop.

    "Thanks," she hastily grabbed the door handle and pushed the door open, taking a moment only to feel for the curb before stepping out of the car. "And don't ask when I'm getting out because I don't know. Bye!"

    With that, she slammed the door shut with a bang! and continued on her way. To her left, the metal box full of newspapers that nobody ever bought anymore. To her right, a tall street light with a little crosswalk button on it. That meant the studio was right across from where she currently stood.

    Home stretch, she thought, and started walking.

    The door to the studio made a small chirping noise, as a bird would, as she pulled it open. It was a gift from her boss to her, a little courtesy that she claimed she despised but secretly loved. Not only did she think having the bell, or chime rather, was cute, but it also clued her into the fact that she had, in fact, walked through the correct door. Many other buildings on the same block had the stereotypical ding! when you walked inside, but not one had a bird chirping. It was obnoxious, she supposed, but it helped more than she would ever admit.

    "What time is it?" she asked, stepping up towards the front desk.

    She could hear the tapping of nails on wood before the drawl of voice that made her cringe. "Five before one. You're early."

    "Oh thank God. See 'ya," she waved a hand before turning down into the familiar hallways. There's a box sticking out of a closet to her immediate left, a low hanging shelf to her right. She ran her hand over the light switch, as usual, and continued, dodging the clutter and junk that had accumulated over the years until she reached the last door, gently opening it with a quiet click and entering.

    "Hey, Naomi. Ad break. What's up?" Daniel Carter. She offered a smile before taking a seat towards the back of the room, dropping her bag down beside her.

    "Oh, you know, the usual. Drowned myself in coffee in efforts to keep awake, tripped on my thesis on my way out the door, suffered another boring lecture on the car ride here. You know how I love lectures." she said, spinning the chair from side to side idly.

    He laughed, and she could imagine a smile. "Considering how much you talk all day, that's a shocker."

    "My brother doesn't get paid to talk at me. I get paid to talk with people. Two entirely different things, I'll have you know."

    Then came another laugh. "I'm sure. Hold up. Ad's over in 3... 2..."

    And that was the end of their conversation. Conversation at the studio was usually held in little snippets during breaks; the same went for organizing. She mentally went over her plans for the day as she waited, thinking through interview questions, playlists, events; she had to run ticket giveaways to two local concerts and she hadn't picked out what to play her for 'undiscovered artists' section. She had a list that Daniel had helped her make the day before, and was 'reading' through it as Daniel's air time came to a close. As he began to sign off, she threw her paper haphazardly onto the panel and lightly cleared her throat.

    From behind, she could hear the door click open--who was it? The annoying secretary? She felt a nudge on her shoulder, and quiet words: "It's Demonte."

    So that was his last name. Right.

    "Thanks, Daniel." Naomi said brightly, pulling her chair forward to sit by the mic. She reached up to where she remembered it to be, adjusting its height down before leaning back in her seat just enough to relax her posture.

    "Hey, guys, this is Naomi Wolfe on 98.8 FM with the afternoon show Person of Words, and I'm very pleased to let you all know that our special guest did show up today," she beckoned to Michael, gesturing to the empty chair Daniel had previously occupied. "Michael Demonte. You'll remember him, of course. A New Yorkian up-and-coming artist, and am I remembering right, Daniel told me that you were into Chuck Close, yes? We'll be posting some of his work up online after the show and you can check it out at w-w-w dot ninety-eight eight FM dot com backwards slash person of words."

    She was beaming as she spoke, as though in front of her live audience and ready to put on the show of the century. One hand rested lightly over an array of important-looking knobs and buttons, the other pressed against the left side of her headphones, and she turned to face the general direction of her guest with another characteristically broad smile.

    "We'll play some quick ads and some music and we'll be back in ten. Stay tuned." Then the mic was muted and the ads began to play.

    "Why don't you sit down? This won't be nearly as painful as it sounds. I'm Naomi," she said, waiting until she heard his voice again and heard him sitting down to extend her hand in greeting.
  3. Michael nodded abruptly, seating himself opposite Naomi and sliding his hat off from atop his head. He tossed the wad of dull, sun-faded grey cloth onto the table and began to peel off his gloves - the pair swiftly joining the hat in its place atop the excessively-polished and heavily scarred wooden table. Smirking - the over-polish was most likely Daniel's work - Michael glanced upward at Naomi, noting dark, round shades. With a jolt, he glanced down at her long-since outstretched hand and shook it, his thin, spindly fingers wrapping more or less around her wrist in greeting.

    With the brief moment of contact gone, his hand having returned to the desktop, Michael offered a thin smile and ran a hand through his grease-matted hair, pausing. He was dimly aware of the background noise the still-running advertisements made, still dimly aware of Naomi across from him - then the lapse in attention was over. Jolting in his chair, he turned back to meet Naomi's shaded eyes and remarked, "It's only painful when Daniel's in charge." Liable to be taken the wrong way, but he meant well by it. "We are talking about the upcoming show, yeah? Daniel didn't make it clear whether or not this was to get me out of my job or try and get some advertising going."

    With his fill said, that moment of contact gone once more, he began to tap his fingers one at a time in quick succession across the tabletop, eyes scanning over every individual flaw in the grain, scratch and dent, splinter and oily patch of polish. Too chaotic. Too unorganized. His own furniture would have never looked like this, if he had any to spare, but then... But then, you only expose more of the grain with more polish. Carter. Radio show. His attention once more jolted back to the poorly ventilated, warm (even for winter) room he currently occupied.

    "Sorry, repeat that?"
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  4. Naomi was getting some weird vibes off of this kid. Man. Whatever. Daniel hadn't told her his age, and she couldn't tell from his voice and handshake alone. She assumed he was older than, maybe, 19 or 20. But further than that, she couldn't tell. Being blind certainly didn't make her any more perceptive--in that department, anyway. Regardless, he seemed almost uncomfortable, tapping his fingers audibly against the desk top, his attention jumping around. Hopefully he wouldn't be like that for the entire interview.

    "Yeah, the show. And, I do believe it's supposed to be for advertising--advertising you." she said. She was spinning her chair back and forth, just slightly, as she talked. "So... I give everyone I bring on air the same run-down before we start. I don't trust Daniel to do it right for me. This is simple stuff; I introduce you, I ask some questions. You answer them the best you can. Project the image you want the people to hear. If humor is your thing, go for it. If not, then don't bother. We're live, and there's no re-do's here. So think before you speak, or else this advertising turns into a publicity dump. I don't get paid enough to try and save you from self-embarrassment." She offered an apologetic smile.

    Her smile quickly vanished when she figured out he wasn't even listening to what she was saying. So this was the kind of person she was working with. She bit back a sigh before repeating her words, more quickly this time, well aware of the brief run time of the ads. "And," she added last minute, doing her best not to sound snippy, "please try to stay focused. If it helps, imagine that you're sitting directly in front of the live audience, if sitting in the studio isn't enough pressure for you. A live audience, and sitting right up front is your entire family. All judging you very, very harshly."

    "This light over here," she said, moving her hand forward against the desk until she found it, "tells you whether or not we're live. Green if we are, red if we aren't. If it's red, say whatever you want; if it's green, that's when you have to put your game face on and think serious. Worst comes to worse, just follow my lead, okay?"

    "We have... just under a minute, I'd say. If you have any questions, ask 'em now."
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  5. Advertising - advertising you. The fact that Michael would be advertising a show in a college he didn't, officially, attend already agitated him. Throwing in self praise and attention was another straw to the camel's back he wasn't quite sure he was comfortable with. But you're here now, and what did you expect? You'd be living on a mattress with no food your whole life for a 'higher purpose'? Bullshit. Michael's thin, spindly fingers massaged his temples as he nodded - to who or what he didn't quite know: Naomi certainly wasn't going to respond to the gesture.

    "No, I got it, thanks," curt, not unkind.

    He adjusted the microphone before him, letting it rest comfortably at about half a foot away from his face and fiddled with the lock system to keep it in place. Offering a last glance at the light Naomi had pointed out, Michael noted that it still shone bright red. How would Naomi know when it went off? Did it click? Did someone speak into a headset? No, stop it, you're drifting again. He forced himself to focus on the microphone before him, the black wire-mesh pattern, every intricate twist and turn of metal. That helped ever so slightly, and he hoped that would be enough for the show.

    A nail-biting twenty seconds later, the light made an audibly low clunk and red shifted to green and the 'on air' sign flashed on. Michael was barely capable of holding back the reactionary jolt of his slowly fraying nerves as Naomi cleared her throat and began to speak. She was introducing him in full now: who he was, where he came from, what he did...All what he already knew, but he kept his focus on the microphone all the while, hoping to avoid another lapse in attention when it actually mattered. Just like with Daniel, no problems, go for it.
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  6. There was a limit to what Naomi could say about Michael Demonte, considering she'd forgotten his last name on the way to the studio and was only half listening when Daniel was giving her the run down. She'd neglected also to take any notes--Demonte might have taken it as an insult, though he wouldn't have been able to read the Braille anyway. Thankfully, Daniel wasn't here to criticize her lack of foresight. In lieu of her lack of information on Demonte, she did what she did best: add in some fluff, dish out the details sparingly, and chalk up Michael Demonte to be the greatest artist she'd never seen.

    Her listeners loved the blind-person jokes, almost as much as she did.

    She took some time finishing up the introduction. Beside her, Michael was as quiet as a rock. She couldn't tell if he was just trying to be respectful--she somewhat doubted that--or if there was just something wrong with him. Maybe he was sick, or maybe he was nervous. It seemed like most artists were of the type to be shy and not very extroverted. Perhaps that's what made the difference between a famous artist and a starving artist. It didn't really matter to her. She was neither. But she needed to get him talking someway or another, and if he was just going to answer her questions like a robot, she had to do something to prompt him. Get him talking about his art, his passion. As she finished up, she came up with a plan.

    "Let's jump right into the interview now, shall we?" she said, brushing her hair back. "We know you're an artist, but what kind of art do you do?"
  7. Michael paused, something Daniel would have berated him for later, and then spoke into the microphone. Having spent enough time in the studio with the various hosts of the station over the years, he was at least fluid and strong-voiced if perhaps lacking in some of the specifics of speaking, "Well, it's a form of photorealism tinged with abstract art. You take an object, break it down into lone squares, pixels almost, and paint them with various colors so that when you look at it from far away, it forms a recognizable image."

    Another, shorter, pause followed before he added in a light tone, "The 'photo' of photorealism doesn't really come into play often, but it's art, so we 'gotta find a way to make it sound better and new."
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